Charlotte's Web (2006 film)

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Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web 2006.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gary Winick
Produced by Jordan Kerner
Screenplay by
Based on Charlotte's Web
by E. B. White
Starring
Narrated by Sam Shepard
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Seamus McGarvey
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • December 7, 2006 (2006-12-07) (Australia)
  • December 15, 2006 (2006-12-15) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $85 million[1]
Box office $144.9 million

Charlotte's Web is a 2006 American live-action/computer-animated comedy-drama film based on the 1952 children’s novel of the same name by E. B. White. Directed by Gary Winick and written by Susannah Grant and Karey Kirkpatrick, it is the second film adaptation of White's book following a 1973 cel-animated version produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. The film stars Dakota Fanning, Kevin Anderson, Beau Bridges and Louis Corbett with voices provided by Dominic Scott Kay, Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Kathy Bates and Thomas Haden Church.

Produced by Walden Media, The K Entertainment Company and Nickelodeon Movies, the film premiered in Australia on December 7, 2006 and was released theatrically by Paramount Pictures on December 15, 2006 in the United States. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $144.9 million against an $85 million budget.

Plot[edit]

On a farm in Somerset County, Maine, Fern Arable finds her father John about to kill the runt of a litter of newborn pigs and successfully begs her father to spare the piglet's life prompting John to give the piglet to Fern which she nurtures the piglet lovingly and naming him Wilbur. To her regret, when Wilbur has matured Fern is forced to take him to her uncle Homer Zuckerman whose barnyard he is left yearning for companionship but is despised by other barn animals until he is befriended by Charlotte, a spider who lives in the space above Wilbur's sty in the Zuckermans' barn. When the other animals reveal to Wilbur that he will be prepared for dinner in due time, Charlotte promises to hatch a plan guaranteed to spare Wilbur's life.

With the help of the other barn animals including a comedic rat named Templeton, Charlotte convinces the Zuckerman family that Wilbur is actually quite special, by spelling out descriptions of him in her web: "Some pig", "Terrific", "Radiant", and "Humble". She gives her full name to be Charlotte A. Cavatica, revealing her to be a barn spider, an orb-weaver spider with the scientific name Araneus cavaticus.

The Arables, Zuckermans, Wilbur, Charlotte and Templeton go to a fair where Wilbur is entered in a contest. While there, Charlotte produces an egg sac containing her unborn offspring and Wilbur, despite winning no prizes, is later celebrated by the fair's staff and visitors (thus made too prestigious alive to justify killing him). Exhausted from laying eggs, Charlotte cannot return home because she is dying. Wilbur bids an emotional farewell to her as she remains at the fair and dies shortly after Wilbur's departure but Wilbur manages to take her egg sac home, where hundreds of offspring emerge. Most of the young spiders soon leave, but three named Joy, Aranea, and Nellie stay and become Wilbur's friends.

Cast[edit]

Voices[edit]

Production[edit]

Charlotte's Web was produced without any involvement from E. B. White's estate.[2] It was the first film based on a book by E. B. White since 2001's The Trumpet of the Swan. Paramount had distributed the film as a result of its acquisition of DreamWorks, whose animation division became its own company in late 2004.

Major shooting was completed in May 2006. It was filmed on location in Greendale, Victoria and suburbs in Melbourne, Australia. The fair scene in the story was filmed in Heidelberg in Melbourne, Australia at Heidelberg West Football Club's football ground. The school scenes were filmed at Spotswood Primary School.

The CGI animation of the film was made by various visual effect studios such as Rising Sun Pictures, Fuel International, Proof, Rhythm and Hues Studios (who also animated 1999's Stuart Little, another film based on an E. B. White book as well as its 2002 sequel), Digital Pictures Iloura and Tippett Studio. The visual effects supervisor for the film was John Berton, who noted that a live-action version of Charlotte's Web has become much more practical in recent years due to advances in technology.[3] Winick "was adamant" that Charlotte and Templeton (the film's two entirely computer-generated characters) should be realistic and not stylized, although they did give Charlotte almond-shaped eyes.[4] John Dietz, visual effects supervisor for Rising Sun Pictures, notes that there was a debate over whether to give her a mouth and that in the end, they decided to have her chelicerae move in what he describes as being almost like a veil as if there were a mouth behind it.[5]

Release[edit]

The film was scheduled for a June 2006 release, but was pushed back to December 15, 2006 to avoid competition with two other films from Nickelodeon Movies - Nacho Libre and Barnyard - as well as Over the Hedge, Cars and Monster House (which also starred Steve Buscemi) among other animated films.

Charlotte's Web was released on DVD on April 3, 2007 in the United States and Canada and on May 28, 2007 in the United Kingdom. It was then released on Blu-ray on March 29, 2011 alongside The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. The film was re-released on DVD on January 24, 2017.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film debuted in third place at the box office with only $11 million. The film performed very well after spending 14 weeks in theaters for a total of $82 million and $61 million elsewhere for a total of $144 million before closing on March 22, 2007.[1]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 79% "Certified Fresh" rating based on 146 reviews with an average rating of 7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Kids will be entertained by the straightforward plot and cute animals, and adults will be charmed by how quiet and humble the production is, a fine translation of E.B. White's genteel prose."[6] On Metacritic the film has a score of 68 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

Michael Medved gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, calling it "irresistible" and "glowing with goodness". Medved also said that Dakota Fanning's performance was "delightfully spunky".[9] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly stated that the film was "a bit noisy" but praised the director for putting "the book, in all its glorious tall-tale reverence, right up on screen." He later went on to say that "What hooks you from the start is Dakota Fanning's unfussy passion as Fern."[10] Conversely, Colm Andrew of the Manx Independent gave the film a score of 6/10, saying that the main problem was "the ultra-cute characterisation of Wilbur, resulting in half the audience rooting for his demise" although overall it was "a competent retelling of a classic story that won't offend".[11]

The film was awarded a 2006 Critics' Choice Award for Best Family Film in the live-action category,[12] and Fanning won the Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actress at the 2007 Kids' Choice Awards.

Soundtrack[edit]

Charlotte's Web
Film score by Danny Elfman
Released 2006
Danny Elfman chronology
Serenada Schizophrana
(2006)
Charlotte's Web
(2006)
Standard Operating Procedure
(2008)

Charlotte's Web: Music from the Motion Picture was released by Sony Classical on December 5, 2006. In addition to the instrumental score by Danny Elfman, the soundtrack includes a song named "Ordinary Miracle" by Sarah McLachlan, which she herself performed during the opening ceremonies of her hometown Vancouver Winter Olympics. A CD compilation of "Music Inspired by the Motion Picture" was issued on December 12, 2006.

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the movie, developed by Backbone Entertainment and published by Sega, was released on December 12, 2006, for the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and PC.

Another game based on the film was released in Europe for the PlayStation 2 by Blast Entertainment on April 5, 2007.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Charlotte's Web (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  2. ^ "E.B. White's Web". : Lifestyle section of Bangor Metro. Webster-Atlantic. May 10, 2007. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2007.
  3. ^ "Filming in "Radiant" Victoria Australia". : About the Film. Charlotte's Web Movie official site. Walden Media / Paramount Pictures. December 15, 2006. Archived from the original (Macromedia Flash) on December 19, 2006. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
  4. ^ Doyle, Audrey (December 2006). "Web Design: A realistic CG Charlotte and Templeton act alongside a real barnyard cast in the latest iteration of Charlotte's Web". Computer Graphics World. 29: 26–32.
  5. ^ Peszko, J. Paul (December 19, 2006). "Spinning A New Charlotte's Web". VFXWorld. AWN, Inc. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  6. ^ "Charlotte's Web (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
  7. ^ Charlotte's Web Reviews - Metacritic
  8. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  9. ^ Medved, Michael (December 15, 2006). "Charlotte's Web". Michael Medved's Eye on Entertainment. MichaelMedved.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
  10. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (December 15, 2006). "Movie Review: Charlotte's Web". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
  11. ^ Review by Colm Andrew, IOM Today
  12. ^ "Charlotte's Web". Variety. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2008.
  13. ^ "Charlotte's Web Box Shot for PlayStation 2 - GameFAQs". www.gamefaqs.com. Retrieved July 13, 2016.

External links[edit]